Conservatives have suspected it for a long, long time–the disgruntlement with the war at the NY Times has seeped into headlines, articles and the stories they choose to run.

Now, they have moved beyond passive-aggressive disgruntlement to an explicit position against the war in Iraq.  In this long editorial, they grace us not only with their reasons for being against the war, but with their advice for how to leave Iraq.  They are candid about the difficulties–so candid, in fact, that I am more persuaded that we should stay in Iraq by the end of the piece:

When Congress returns this week, extricating American troops from the war should be at the top of its agenda.

That conversation must be candid and focused. Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.

Somehow, these consequences are supposed to be mitigated by negotiations with Iraq’s government and “international pressure” on Iraq’s surrounding neighbors (including Iran and Syria) and human relief efforts (the only worthwhile tactic, I think).  At best, their proposition is optimistic.  More likely, it is hopelessly, foolishly and dangerously naive.

The piece is anything but subtle, except for this choice line:

Iraq’s leaders — knowing that they can no longer rely on the Americans to guarantee their survival — might be more open to compromise, perhaps to a Bosnian-style partition, with economic resources fairly shared but with millions of Iraqis forced to relocate. That would be better than the slow-motion ethnic and religious cleansing that has contributed to driving one in seven Iraqis from their homes.

“Ethnic and religious cleansing” requires an agent–whom, I wonder, would the NY Times blame?  Bush?  The American military?  The power of suggestion is powerful indeed, and the editors at the NY Times clearly know how to use it effectively.

The real question, it seems, is whether they read their own news:

A suicide truck bomber killed at least 105 people in a single blast north of Baghdad on Saturday, police officials said, leading to further fears that insurgents who fled intense military operations in Baghdad and Diyala are turning to targets away from the American troop buildup.

Yup, it’s a terrible tragedy.  But it seems, though, that it is also proof that the surge is working, in that it has pushed terrorists outside the major city centers.  Win the cities, and the towns will follow eventually.

The news story is, on the whole, typically bearish (contra the indispensable Michael Yon), but that’s not surprising.  What else should we expect from the editors’ myopic vision?

More thoughts over at Hot Air, where AllahPundit registers it as “pathetic.”  It’s hard to disagree with that assessment.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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